Illumination Head Chris Meledandri Defends Chris Pratt’s Casing as Mario

by in Entertainment | Nov, 24th 2021

Looking back at the most recent Nintendo Direct, it still feels like a fever dream. The casting for the Mario Movie is exactly what fans expected, but had hoped wasn’t going to happen, with  Illumination Entertainment at the wheel resorting to AAA celebrities to voice the characters. To some, this isn’t a good look for the film, even though it seems the plot may still be safe. However, there are still many things that players are worried about, mainly that this comes from the announcement that the voice of Mario himself is going to be done by Chris Pratt.

With Chris Pratt’s previous work in animated films, he’s done a voice that’s been very similar to his current speaking voice on television and film, so players are worried that Chris’ performance isn’t going to be Mario. Pratt has mentioned that he’s going to do his best to do justice to the character, stating that this role is a dream come true for him. While some fans may believe Pratt, actions are going to have to speak louder than words.

Chris Meledandri Defends Chris Pratt as Mario

However, it seems that the head of Illumination has seen Chris’ voice and is optimistic. In an interview with the website toofab, After being cornered by a reporter in public, Meledandri talked about the voice of the character in the film. “All I can tell you is the voice that he’s doing for us, and Mario, is phenomenal, Yeah I can’t wait for people to hear it.”

Chris Pratt - Wikipedia
Will Pratt be able to ease fan concerns with his performance in the Mario movie?

Something that fans of Mario are concerned about is that with Pratt’s take on Mario being less of the voice that Charles Martinet does in the games, that Illumination is going to make light of the in-game voice, technically insulting Mario’s original voice. This would be not only rude of the film to do, especially since Charles Martinet wasn’t asked about doing the voice for the film, and instead has been relegated to other roles in the film that don’t have him in the shoes of the plumber. 

Later in the article, it’s confirmed from the interview that exactly what is going to be taking place in the film, as Meledandri claims that Mario’s in-game voice is going to be a self-referential joke inside the film “We cover it in the movie, So you’ll see we definitely nod to that.” Meledandri also claims that they’re not going to be leaning in too heavily into the “It’s-a Me Mario!”

People on Twitter have previously mentioned the voicing choice, making up their own versions of how this self-referential joke is going to play out. Some fans thought that Martinet will do the voice during a scene and Pratt’s Mario will say something along the lines of “get a load of this guy,” or there’s going to be a scene where Pratt’s Mario will perform his version of the iconic voice, only to change it via coughing or something along those lines. Most of these interpretations were jokes,  but are now more realistic with the confirmation by Illumination.

Some fans believe that the film is going to do a disservice to the characters and their legacy, feeling that the jokes are going to come off as mean-spirited, and intentionally degrading towards longtime fans of the series. This is especially the case for Charles Martinet, who’s been doing Mario’s voice since well before Mario 64. With him being the iconic voice of the character for years now, having his voice relegated to side characters in the film is going to feel like he’s been given the shorthand of the stick. Some fans are optimistic that the voice of Mario is going to sound similar to the way that Lou Albano did the voice, while still having the classic accent but not being as high pitched as Martinet’s version of the character. 

Illumination has been known for making some good films, such as Despicable Me, but they’re also known for making mostly forgettable films, like their adaptations of Dr. Seuss books, as well as their robust amount of sequels related to the Minions. With their track record of mostly middle of the road films, the hopes for the Mario movie to turn out as a success isn’t high for fans of Mario and friends, and with Nintendo’s insistence that the film is going to be something that many fans are going to be excited about, it doesn’t seem like they’re going to drop Illumination if the film fails to meet expectations.

It seems that only time is going to tell what’s going to come of the Mario movie, and we could get a good idea of that end result early when the trailer for the film drops. The Super Mario movie might fall into the same pit as the Sonic movie did with its trailer, and while the trailer for the Sonic movie convinced the crew of the film to make Sonic look more like his character, is Nintendo going to be properly swayed if the same reaction to the trailer happens for the Mario movie?

The Trailer Might Release Around E3

Since Nintendo revealed the cast for the film at one of their Nintendo Directs, there’s an even higher chance that the film’s trailer is going to be shown at another one sometime next year. Given that most films put out a trailer six months in advance of their release, and the film comes out next December, we’re likely to get our first look sometime around E3 next year. This would be the perfect time to launch the trailer for the film, as well as put it in the same timeframe as Illumination usually releases trailers for their holiday films. Until then, all fans of Mario can do is speculate what’s going to happen.


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